July 13, 2016 / 3:57 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei hits one-month high as speculators bet on BOJ helicopter ride

* Nikkei up on renewed expectations of Abe stimulus

* Bernanke’s Tokyo visit spurs talk of “helicopter money”

* Cyclical shares gain; yen benefits exporters

TOKYO, July 13 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a more than a one-month high on Wednesday as speculators placed new bets on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launching an aggressive policy mix of monetary and fiscal easing after his election victory.

The Nikkei gained 1.0 percent to 16,444.25 in morning trade, bringing its gains since Abe’s election victory on Sunday to 7.5 percent. Its 2.2 percent rise on Wednesday took it to the highest level in more than a month.

While sentiment was helped by a rally in U.S. stocks to record highs following last week’s strong jobs data, there were fresh bets that Abe would launch a new campaign to reboot an economy that is threatening to slip back into deflation.

On Tuesday, just a day after Abe ordered a new stimulus package, he met former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, known as a proponent of monetary stimulus including “helicopter money” policies - printing money and handing it directly to consumers to stimulate the economy.

“We suspect that helicopter money was the topic to be discussed,” said William De Vijlder, group chief economist at BNP Paribas, visiting Tokyo from Paris.

Such speculation helped drive the yen down to a three-week low of almost 105 to the dollar - boosting exporters’ shares.

Murata Manufacturing gained 7.4 percent while Toyota Motor Corp gained 2.8 percent and Honda Motor Co rose 3.3 percent.

Investors also bought back battered financial shares.

Nomura Holdings gained 3.2 percent, and Daiwa Securities surged 4.4 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 4.3 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 3.5 percent.

The broader Topix gained 1.3 percent to 1,302.66 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.4 percent to 11,729.41.

“It’s natural to think that there was another factor beyond recovering global risk sentiment lifting the dollar which had been stagnant for a while,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities

He noted seeing an increase in expectations that a “helicopter money” campaign could be launched - even if it was just a temporary solution.

Shares in Nintendo Co, however, had something of a rough landing, falling for the first time in five days on profit-taking after a Democratic U.S. Senator asked the software developer behind Nintendo’s high-flying “Pokemon GO” to clarify the mobile game’s data privacy protection.

Nintendo was off 6.1 percent after soaring 50 percent over the past four days. (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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